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Berries: So Good!



If you’ve ever tried googling the healthiest or the top 10 best fruits to eat, you’ll see that berries never fail to make the list. What makes these superfruits so super? Berries contain lots of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols that our bodies need but can’t produce on their own, so eating these colorful fruits does us a whole lot of good. Beyond vitamins and minerals, berries also contain plant nutrients called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are commonly found in flowers and fruits. Classified as flavonoids, which are natural antioxidants, anthocyanins also happen to be the very pigments that give all berries their eye-catching colors. Studies have found that anthocyanins are responsible for many of the health benefits associated with berries. A 2017 review listed all the health-promoting properties anthocyanins possess:

  • Cardioprotective, meaning they can help prevent heart disease

  • Support metabolic health, helping prevent obesity and diabetes

  • Antimicrobial (antibacterial and anti-fungal)

  • Anti-angiogenic, meaning they reduce the growth of new blood vessels, which cancer cells use to get a supply of oxygen and nutrients

  • Neuroprotective, which means they help protect brain cells from damage

Perhaps the most notable benefit linked to berry anthocyanins is the reduced risk of heart disease. Researchers have found that adding berries to your daily diet can lower high blood sugar, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. These are three of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Test-tube and human studies suggest berries may protect your cells from high blood sugar levels, and lower insulin resistance after high-carb meals, reducing the probability of developing diabetes. Berries are a good source of fibre including soluble fibre. Studies show that consuming soluble fibre slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness. Here are the carb and fibre counts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of berries:

  • Raspberries: 11.9 grams of carbs, 6.5 of which are fibre

  • Blackberries: 10.2 grams of carbs, 5.3 of which are fibre

  • Strawberries: 7.7 grams of carbs, 2.0 of which are fibre

  • Blueberries: 14.5 grams of carbs, 2.4 of which are fibre

Note that a typical serving size for berries is 1 cup, which converts to about 4.5–5 ounces or 125–150 grams Berries, especially strawberries, are high in vitamin C. In fact, 1 cup (150 grams) of strawberries provides a whopping 150% of the RDI for vitamin C. Black raspberries and strawberries have been shown to help lower cholesterol in people who are obese or have metabolic syndrome. What’s more, berries may help prevent LDL cholesterol (the unfavorable cholesterol) from becoming oxidized or damaged, which is believed to be a major risk factor for heart disease. Berries can be included in many kinds of diets. Though people on low-carb and ketogenic diets often avoid fruit, they can usually enjoy berries in moderation. For example, a half-cup serving of blackberries (70 grams) or raspberries (60 grams) contains less than 4 grams of digestible carbs.

Make your sorbets gourmet! Here are some classic berry and herb combinations:

  • Blackberry and mint

  • Cranberry and ginger

  • Blueberry and lavender

  • Raspberry and thyme

  • Strawberry and basil

Take 3 cups (450 grams) of fresh berries, and them macerate with ½ - 1 tsp of a chopped fresh herb of your choice. Add 4 tablespoons of honey, and blend completely in a food processor or blender. Freeze completely. Let stand at room temperature for thirty minutes before serving. Or you can make them in popsicle molds to eat straight from the freezer!

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